ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau submitted a plan to the St. Louis Rams it believes will put the 17-year-old Edward Jones Dome to among the top tier in the NFL.
The plan was proposed to the Rams on Friday.
According to the 128-page proposal, the Broadway side of the current dome would become a “wave wall” of glass that would allow ambient light into the building. The wall would move the stadium closer to the street, but would not shut down or move Broadway like the Rams’ initially proposal suggested.
Under the proposal, the amount of seating in the building would be increased from the current 66,000 capacity to 70,000.
Like the Rams’ proposal, the one submitted by the CVS calls for a scoreboard in the middle of the stadium and an improved playing surface.
It also has an increase in the number of club seats and boxes, bathrooms and a bigger press box.
While the proposal did not outline the project costs, Kitty Ratcliffe with the CVC said it would not be much more than its original proposal to the Rams.
“The original plan that we submitted was a $124 million dollar plan and we don’t have the final estimates done on all the details, but I can tell you while it will increase the costs a little bit, it will not be a significant change,” she said.
Still, the cost of the newest proposal from the CVC is vastly different than the Rams’ earlier proposal of $700 million.
“Well, there is a big gap. Their proposal’s very different in terms of its scope. So that will be for the arbitration panel to decide,” Ratcliffe said.
The Rams and CVC will now go through an arbitration process that should happen in the next few months.
“…This is our attempt to address the concerns we heard that the Rams had with our original plan, and to be able to put a final plan before the arbitrators for the arbitrators to make a decision,” Ratcliffe said.
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Under the terms of the 30-year lease between the commission and the Rams, the dome must be among the top quarter of all 31 NFL stadiums before the start of the 2015 season. If not, the team can break the lease and potentially become the second NFL team to leave St. Louis in a quarter of a century.
Neither side has provided specifics of how the worthiness of the stadium upgrade will be assessed, but Rainford has said that the commission must simply prove the dome is top tier in each of several different categories. While some are subjective, others are not, including the size of the scoreboard.
The dome, which opened in 1995 after the team relocated from Los Angeles, was built with money from city, St. Louis County and Missouri taxpayers.
Owner Stan Kroenke has been non-committal about the team’s future if the dome isn’t improved. He is a Missouri native who became minority owner when Georgia Frontiere brought the Rams to her hometown of St. Louis.
But Kroenke owns an estate in Malibu, Calif., and unsuccessfully sought to purchase baseball’s Dodgers, leading to speculation that the Rams could head west after the 2014 season without a significant dome upgrade.
St. Louis has been through this before. The football Cardinals moved to Arizona after the 1987 season when owner Bill Bidwill was unable to get a stadium of his own. The football and baseball Cardinals shared old Busch Stadium.